Threat

I see how you look at me. Don’t think I don’t notice,  because I do. 

I’m a threat to you. I get it.

Because when you look at me, you see yourself.

Because you can’t quite figure it out. What did I do wrong?

Because from the outside we had it all. Just like you.

Because we appeared to be happy. ‘Was she faking the whole time?’

Because if it were that bad she would have left, right? 

Because I make you uncomfortable. 

Because it just doesn’t make sense. 

Because it just looks too familiar. 

So you keep me at a distance. 

Because you want to believe that it can’t be you. It could never be you.

Because you’re happy. And because you love eachother. And because you would never get a divorce. 

Because that only happens to people like me. 

Because it just doesn’t happen to people like you. 

At least, that’s what you tell yourself. 

And so I see how you look at me. 

Because I used to have the same look on my face too. 

It Had to End

Earlier this week, when I found myself on the phone talking to my ex there was something different about him.

It wasn’t that we were getting along. It wasn’t that he was finally saying all the things I had wished he had been saying. But it was that he was happy.

He was actually happy.

It had been a long time since I had heard him be that happy. I honestly can’t remember making him that happy in our marriage. I’m sure I did at some point, but he was genuinely happy. 

And it was because of her. 

I know that’s weird of me to talk about, but it was. 

It was her. 

He talked about her and you could hear the smile in his voice. 

I thought I would be upset. That it would hurt. Knowing that it wasn’t me who made him happy, but I realized that wasn’t my job. 

Let me explain.

Did I love my ex? Of course I did, but it was a specific kind of love. 

Oh, I thought we would be together forever. I had invested 10 years of my life into that relationship only to have it end through a text. I spent days and weeks and months analyzing everything I did leading up to that moment. Trying to figure it all out, but I couldn’t.

Until I heard how happy he was.

I know some people get into a relationship that ends and they can’t understand it. They can’t help but claim that it was a waste of their time. 

But I don’t believe that. 

Even though it didn’t work out the way I thought it would, I think it’s better. I think it served it’s purpose. 

Yes, my marriage ended. Yes, it was sad. But look at what has happened because of that. 

And I don’t think it was a waste of time. I think it did what it was supposed to do.

You guys, not only is my ex happy, but I am. I have found this man who is unlike anything I’ve ever known. 

Do I wish I had found him sooner? Of course. I’m crazy about him and now that he’s in my life, I can’t imagine a second without him. 

But the timing was perfect. 

Because not only has God given me an amazing guy, but He made sure to give me my amazing kids. And without my ex, they wouldn’t be here. 

I had to ‘waste that time’ so I could have them. 

Hard to be upset at that, especially as I sit here writing this watching them play on the couch. 

My ex wasn’t the love of my life. And I wasn’t the love of his life either. But what our temporary love did was give me two of the greatest joys I could ever have. 

And who knows, maybe it’s even introduced me to the love of my life. 

Sometimes it can be hard to understand God’s plan. Sometimes it’s hard to think that anything good can come from something that hurt so bad. But you guys, that’s when you go back to my favorite verse of all times and you read it, over and over and over again. 

“In all things, God works for the good of those who love him.” Romans 8:28

Because had my marriage not ended. I would be miserable. Had my marriage not ended I never would have learned to fall in love with myself. Had my marriage not ended I never would have met the man who has swept me off my feet. Had the marriage not ended I never would have understood the point of it all. 

So see? It had to end. 

Because how else would we have known how to be so happy? 

3 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

 2 a time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

 3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

 4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

 5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

 6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

 7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

 8 a time to love, and a time to hate;

a time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

And I’m Celebrating

I thought about this day for a long time. A whole year to be exact. 

I thought about where I would be. What my life would like. If I would be okay. 

I never imagined you would actually leave me, not for good anyways. I got pretty used to you always walking out, but the thing was, you’d always walk back in. 

I have to be honest, I’m having a hard time knowing that you’re spending the day, my wedding anniversary, with another woman. 

This isn’t a plea to get you back. And I don’t hate her, despite what you might think, but this was our day. 

For 5 years it was our day. It was the one day where we both remembered how much we loved each other. Where we would forget how much we hurt each other. It was the one day where we could start over and get back to the basics. Back to what made us, us. 

But now, well, now it’s my day. 

I can still remember the way I felt walking down the ‘aisle’ to you. The way I felt when our eyes finally met. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that feeling. I just knew this was it. 

And then it wasn’t. 

I had convinced myself that I couldn’t live without you. That I needed you. That I wasn’t enough. And I never would be. 

But then I was. 

Because this year has been the best year of my life. Because this year I learned to do it on my own. Well, with His help, of course. This year I did things I never imagined. 

Things you told me I would never do. 

Things I told myself I could never do. 

So today, instead of crying or being angry or being sad. Today I choose happy. 

I might not be celebrating our anniversary. But that doesn’t mean I can’t still celebrate. 

And so, today, I’m choosing to celebrate me. 

Because this day doesn’t have to be a bad one. Because I don’t have a single regret about any of it. Not even driving back 18 hours just to have you walk out for good. 

Because, if anything, this past year has taught me that I am a fighter. And I am faithful. And that I loved you with every fiber of my being. And so I have no regrets. 

But now, instead of loving you, I get to love myself. 

So today is my day. 

And I’m celebrating. 

The Gift

Oh, Facebook. You and your memories.

Today, you reminded me that 6 years ago it was ‘one month till I was a Mrs.’ Now I look at the calendar and remind myself that it’s one month until I celebrate a year that my husband left me.

Yes, celebrate.

Because you see, I am no longer sad, not most days, anyways. It still hurts sometimes. Sometimes I still wonder why it had to happen, but as I sat there and read that reminder I realized I just had no idea.

I had no idea how good life could be. I thought that by marrying my husband, that was it. That was as good as life could be. What I didn’t realize is that I was settling.

Oh gracious, was I settling.

I was also giving up responsibility. I had decided that by marrying my husband that it was suddenly his responsibility to make me happy.

Only his responsibility.

What I didn’t know is that I would be the only one who could do that.

Now I know.

I also know that I wasn’t being fair to my husband. I set him up for failure.

I set us up for failure.

But I’m done being upset about it. It happened. It was never just one of us either. So before you take sides, know that I was just as guilty as he was.

So now, I’m just sitting here. It’s a quiet Saturday morning. I’ve got a hot cup of coffee and a good book to keep me company while the kids sleep and Facebook does a good job of reminding me of the life I used to live.

I reflected back for a minute on a what a Saturday morning would look like while we were married. Usually, I would wake up to discover my husband had not come home that night. At first, I would cry. I would try to call or text.

But then I stopped caring.

I would wake up to find that he had not come home and I would just sit in the silence, knowing that I was miserable, but also knowing I didn’t have a clue how to change that.

Now I know.

And so that’s what I’ll be reminded of when Facebook decides to share those memories with me. Now I’ll remind myself that I know exactly how to make myself happy. Now I know how to take care of myself. And now I know that I’m the only one who can do those things.

What a gift, right? Yeah, I think so too.

You Wouldn’t Recognize Her. 

I just picked out the dates in October for a second vacation. I decided I don’t want to be here when our wedding anniversary turned the day you left me comes around. And so I picked somewhere warm. Somewhere I could escape for just a little bit because I already know, it’s gonna be a real doozy.

Can you believe it’s almost been a year?

Don’t misunderstand. I’m still happy you left. Now that I see the bigger picture, I get it. It had to happen. If only you could see who I’ve become since you left. You wouldn’t recognize her.

She’s nothing like the girl you knew.

She’s strong. She’s determined. She’s unafraid. She refuses to settle. And she sticks up for herself.

She’s beautiful too. She learned to take care of herself. To put her wants and needs above everyone else’s. And she’s better for it.

She’s strong. She’s fierce. She’s everything she wasn’t before.

Something tells me you wouldn’t have left her.

So you see, it’s better now. It’s better than she could have ever imagined. She’s finally happy. Did you ever think that would happen?

Remember how miserable she was? How many nights she spent crying over you. How many mornings she would wake up with swollen eyes lying to her kids that everything was fine.

But then she has these moments where she really doesn’t get it at all. Where she wonders why you didn’t fight harder for her. Especially when you promised you would.

And then she’s happy that you didn’t. She’s happy because she has figured out how to be happy on her own.

She’s happy for you too. She still sticks up for you. She always did. She doesn’t let people put you down, but she doesn’t manipulate the truth anymore either. The funny thing is she finally loves you unconditionally. The way she probably should have loved you when you were married. The way she couldn’t because she had to learn to love herself first. But she does. She finally loves you for you.

She may start to wonder why it didn’t work. And she still gets sad sometimes when she thinks about it, I mean, she did spend 10 years with you and more than missing her husband, I think she misses her best friend, but she finally realizes that you both did the best you could.

And that’s good enough for her.

So she moves on. She comes back to the present. She takes a deep breath and she looks at the life she has made. And just like that she’s happy again. She’s the happiest she’s ever been.

See, I told you, you wouldn’t recognize her.

Because This Time it’s Different

I can’t get over how different it all feels this time. 

Y’all, it’s kind of amazing.

I’m finishing up packing. Getting things ready to hit the road back home to North Carolina. Washing, folding, packing. 

Organizing. Or my pathetic attempt at such. 

It has been an amazing 3+ weeks. I have rested. I have been restored. And I am renergized. 

It was exactly what I needed. 

It’s been a lot like before when I took long vacations, except there’s something very different. 

Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve gone home feeling wanted? 

Oh boy. 

I remember dreading going home. Afraid of going home. Because I knew how much he didn’t want me there. Because I knew how much he wished I’d stay. 

I remember going home thinking it was going to be different. That the time away was going to be exactly what we needed. That when I got out of the car or off the plane, he would see me and remember just how much he loved me, but it never worked out that way. 

I would be welcomed with empty stares. I would have to ask for a kiss. My attempt at trying. He would half hug me as if I was the last thing he wanted to see, probably because I was. 

Not this time, though. 

This time I’m wanted. This time he wished I never had left. This time I’m missed. 

This time it’s so different. 

This time I’m not scared. This time I’m excited to come home. Because this time I didn’t run away. 

Because this time it’s different. 

And while I used to be scared of ‘different’ and scared of ‘change’, I’ve realized that this entire season of my life is just that. It’s all different. 

And y’all, different is good. Different is so good. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still scared. Most days, I’m still scared, but along with being scared, comes trust. 

Because I’m learning to trust others. I’m learning to trust Him. But more than that, I’m finally learning to trust myself. 

Turns out that when I trust myself enough to trust Him completely, it just works. Things just work. And it’s all different. 

And y’all, different is so good. 

Because I know that when I get home there isn’t going to be any half hugs. I know that when I come home it won’t be just me going in for the kiss. Because I know when I come home, I’m going to be the only thing he wants to see. 

Because this time it’s different. 

And thank goodness, it’s different. 

XXOO

Somewhere Else

You should have been here. 

Who knew divorce could be so emotional? Between us, I’m tired. I’m so tired of feeling things because of you. 

And I’m tired of having no one to talk to about it. Because that was you. You were my person. You were the one I could talk to, even if you never listened. I could talk. 

Now, I just sit here. Having conversations with myself. 

You should have been here. Your absence was a constant reminder that everything I knew was no longer. 

The truth is, you should have been here because this was our celebration. This was something we did. Not just me. We did it. We made her. 

This was our day, too. 

But instead, I was here and you were somewhere else. 

Instead, I was here defending you and, well, you were somewhere else.

Because people just don’t get it. Most days, I don’t even get it. But I know you’re not well. You may argue with me, but someone who is well, doesn’t just walk out on their entire family, so no, you aren’t well. 

And perhaps, I’m the only one who can see that. I don’t even think you see it. But I see it and I just feel so sorry for you. Because you should have been here, but instead you were somewhere else. 

You should have been here. And I shouldn’t have to defend you. You should have been here because that’s what you promised me. 

Because you swore to me that you would love me no matter what. 

But instead, I was here and you were somewhere else. 

Birthdays

Hard to believe my baby is 3 years old. I have so many emotions going through me, right now. 

I don’t even know where to begin. 

I can’t help but think of where we were last year. What we were doing. Usually, the memories are good, but last year, well, last year my husband and I were separated. 

I knew my marriage would be restored. I had held on to the faith that it would be and it was actually at Adelaide’s birthday party where we decided to give it another shot. He would move back in just a few days later. 

The year before that we had been fighting constantly. The kids and I were getting ready to take a vacation without daddy. For 3 weeks I would run away to my grandparents’ house until I felt like my husband wanted us back. 

I’m not sure that he ever did. 

It would be just a few months later that I would find out my husband had been cheating on me. He cheated on me even while I was gone. Swearing every night that he wasn’t. I should have believed myself, but I let him convince me that I was just being a crazy girl. 

I can still feel the raw pain of finding out that he had been unfaithful. I still cry when I think about just like I am right now. 

He broke me. 

He made me unable to trust others, myself included. 

Yes, I am on the path to recovery, but I’ve still got a long way to go. I am still hurt. And here we are celebrating another birthday without him. 

I wish I knew how to describe what I’m feeling, but even with my extensive vocabulary, it’s lacking. 

Hopefully, next year when I’m thinking about my baby being 4, I’ll reflect back on this day and witness just how far I’ve come.

Maybe birthdays witbout him will just get easier. 

Maybe. 

No Apologies

The thing is, I don’t even have it in me to apologize anymore. Not for this. Not for what I’ve become. The old me? The old me apologized all of the time. I apologized for everything. I apologized for who I was.

Not anymore.

The truth is, this is probably my most selfish season of life. I am constantly thinking about me. What I want. What I don’t want. What I’m willing to tolerate. I don’t do things just to do things anymore. I do things because I want to or because I don’t want to.

I think this throws people off. I know it does.

Because they aren’t used to it. Heck, I’m not used to it. And maybe I’m doing things the wrong way, who knows? But what I do know is that for 10 years I was in a relationship that had nothing to do with me. For 10 years I constantly put myself below others. And not in the nice way, but in the sick way.

For 10 years I did it the way everyone else wanted to. I avoided conflict. I nodded when I wanted to scream. I learned to cry in the shower. I learned to hide my emotions, except anger and resentment. I got real good at showing those.

I learned to disguise myself as something that made everyone else comfortable. Except myself.

For those 10 years, I was never comfortable.

So maybe I don’t know what I’m doing now. I don’t think I should know. I’m learning. I’m taking it one day at a time and trying. Because this is all new to me.

Because this wasn’t supposed to happen. He was supposed to love me through good times and bad. In sickness and in health. Till death do us part. And he didn’t.

So maybe I do look like I’ve gotten it all together. Most days, I feel like I do, but then sometimes I just don’t. And I’m okay with that. Because, if anything, I’ve learned it’s not about perfection, it’s about progress and that is something I’m making everyday.

So don’t push me. Don’t criticize me. Don’t act like I should have it all together because I don’t and it’s not fair that anyone expect I should. I am taking this one step at a time because when you plan too much, like spending the rest of your life with your husband, well it can throw you off when it doesn’t happen.

So this season is about me. It’s about learning who I am. It’s about being okay with the brokenness. It’s about being selfish and finally being the one who isn’t uncomfortable.

And no, I’m not sorry.

Closure Part One

I’m titling this as part one because I just have a feeling there will be a part two. I don’t know for sure, yet, but I just have a feeling.

I’m going to Texas this weekend. Doing my best to pack up the last 10 years of my life and try to figure out how to get it here, to North Carolina.

I miss my stuff. My things. Our things, but I am not looking forward to this trip.

I have begged and pleaded to God to let this happen any other way, but there must be a lesson here. Somewhere in our things.

Because I’m going to Texas this weekend.

It’s easy to be happy when you aren’t thinking about it. Aren’t thinking about your marriage not working. Not thinking about your lease ending on the place you shared with someone you thought you were going to spend the rest of your life with. It’s easy when it’s out of sight, out of mind.

But now I’m having to close that chapter. Turn that page. And find that closure.

It’s not that I expected things to be different. He left. I moved on. It would never be the way it was or the way it should have been. It was over. But now it’s like really over.

For so long it was Lauren and. And now it’s just not.

It’s just real now. It hasn’t been real yet, or it has and I just haven’t felt it. But now, it’s real.

Now it’s just so real.

So here goes Part One.